Morrison & Foerster, which last week advised longtime client SoftBank Group Corp. on a major investment in Uber Technologies Inc., another client of the firm, has swayed a prominent Jones Day partner to join its growing transactional team in the Bay Area.
Khoa Do, who joined Jones Day in 2010 from DLA Piper, has established a practice focused on advising technology and more traditional companies on M&A deals. Do officially started Monday at MoFo in Palo Alto, California.
“I was impressed by the M&A team as I got to know MoFo more,” Do said. “The reputation MoFo has in technology, in the Bay Area, I think it is unmatched.”
Do said that MoFo has a well-established global footprint and attractive international clients. As a Vietnamese-American lawyer experienced in cross-border deals, Do hopes to bring his international background and expertise to the firm and strengthen its global M&A practice.
A mixed martial arts aficionado, Do has made quite a few jumps between jobs since moving to California during the height of the technology boom in 1998. He spent nearly a half-dozen years working as an associate at Silicon Valley stalwart Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, leaving that firm in early 2004 to join Greenberg Traurig.
In mid-2007, Do backed away from an offer to join Dentons predecessor Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and moved to DLA Piper, where he spent the next three years. Over time, Do built up his bonafides representing technology companies on notable transactions, including South Korean chipmaker MagnaChip Semiconductor Corp. on its $133 million initial public offering in 2011—a listing that securities filings show generated $4.9 million in legal fees and expenses for Jones Day—and Atmel Corp. on its $3.56 billion sale to Microchip Technology Inc. in 2016.
“Khoa will enable us to provide even stronger support to technology clients, including public companies, in the San Francisco Bay Area market and beyond,” said a statement by Eric McCrath, co-chair of MoFo’s M&A group.
According to the firm, MoFo has approximately 300 lawyers and 450 nonlawyers located in its two Bay Area bases in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Overall, the Am Law 100 firm said it has more than 250 lawyers working on M&A deals for clients. MoFo reached out to Do about coming aboard, he said.
“Jones day is an extraordinary law firm,” said Do about the politically-connected firm where he spent nearly eight years. “It was not an easy decision.”
Do, whose move to MoFo was brokered by Sabina Lippman of Lippman Jungers, declined to comment on whether his new firm offered him more compensation. Profits per equity partner at MoFo in 2016 were $1.41 million, according to reporting by The American Lawyer, a number that stood at roughly $1.04 million at Jones Day that same year.
In the light of the Trump administration’s recent tax reforms, rollback of certain regulations and the surging U.S. stock market and other changes in the global economy, some experts are predicting that M&A in the technology sector could rise to record levels in 2018, a sentiment with which Do wholeheartedly agreed.
“2018 is going to be an active year, and I am ready for it,” he said.
Do joins MoFo a few months after it recruited a six-lawyer intellectual property team in San Francisco from Wilson Sonsini led by partners Stefani Shanberg and Jennifer Schmidt and nearly a year after it snagged Sidley Austin partner Joshua Hill Jr. to lead its white-collar defense practice from the same city.
MoFo did suffer a major loss last summer when Rachel Krevans, the former leader of its IP practice, died at 60 after a battle with cancer. Jones Day also hired MoFo corporate partner Charles Chau last summer in Hong Kong and investment management chair Jay Baris in New York left MoFo earlier this month for Shearman & Sterling.
Keith Wetmore, a longtime leader at MoFo, left the firm late last year to join legal recruiting giant Major, Lindsey & Africa.